Ten tips to keep your child safe in a car seat
It is frightening to think that each day 5 children are killed in automobile accidents – and another 586 will suffer injuries. It is even scarier to consider 1700 kids die a year, almost half of which are unrestrained passengers.
By simply securing your child in a car safety seat, you can reduce the risk of fatal injury by 71% for infants under one, and 54% for toddlers between one and four years old.
For some, installing a child safety seat can be an arduous task. Perhaps that’s why as many of 85% of car seats are installed incorrectly or are not the right size for the child. By following these simple guidelines, we can help you keep your family safe.
1. Always read & follow the instructions from the manufacturer of the seat.
2. Remember to send in the registration card- this will be important is the seat is recalled.
3. Children under 12 should sit in the backseat, doing so reduces the risk of serious injury by 40%.
4. Car seats for children under 20lbs should always face backwards.
5. Never place a backward facing seat in front of an airbag.
6. The shoulder straps of the car seat go in the lowest slots for infants riding backward, and the highest slots for children facing forward.
7. The retainer clip should be placed at arm pit level to keep harness straps on the shoulders.
8. Harness straps should be snug. So snug that you cannot fit more than one finger at the child’s collarbone.
9. Check the owner’s manual for your car to see if you need to use a locking clip or some additional piece of equipment to keep the safety seat secure.
10. When the car seat is installed, be sure it does not move side-to-side or toward the front of the car.
Remember to continually check your car seat for evidence of damage such as cracked plastic, frayed straps, stiff adjusters or broken buckles. Never use a car seat that has been in an accident, it is no longer safe. Don’t be tempted to save money by buying a used car seat. There is no way to tell if the seat has been damaged in an accident. If you can’t afford a car seat, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the National SAFE KIDS campaign.
Every parent knows that you can’t protect your child from everything, but when it comes to auto safety, there is something you can do. Keep them safe, buckle them up!
Throughout the year, the State Police offer inspections of child car seats. To find the next inspection near you, click here.
Wondering if your seat has been recalled? Call the U.S. Department of Transportation Auto Safety Hotline for an up-to-date list of recalled seats that need repair, 1-800-424-9393.
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